I'm wide awake at 4 a.m. I've been up all night pondering the past election.
I guess it just dawned on me that George Bush is President. It seemed so surreal
at the time.
I remember turning on the TV November fifth to find our candidates in a
dead heat. I spilled coffee all over my startled self. It was inconceivable.
I thought everyone had watched the debates. Gore was clearly the lesser of
At that moment, sitting in my coffee-stained underwear, I realized that
not everyone enjoys the ability to recognize quality when it stands before
them. I'm not suggesting that our ballot smacked of quality. I'm just saying
that when Bush failed to define "ERA," a trap door should have
opened beneath him, dropping him from the race.
For me, it was easy because I'm a single-issue voter. I believe that Nature
is more beautiful than man and that the environment is the only true issue
on the card. In California, a teenager gives birth every nine minutes. To
me, that's an environmental emergency.
Asked to choose between the author of Earth in the Balance and a pair of
oil magnates, I knew which chad to dimple.
Most Americans agree. Gore did win the popular vote. But nearly half of
us made another decision -- to place business before the wonder of being.
To quote Mr. Keating, "Medicine, law, engineering -- these are noble
pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty ... love. These
are what we stay alive for."
Some voted for Bush on the basis of abortion; others were anti-Semites.
A third of Bush's supporters were influenced by Clinton's actions (vengeance
votes). A third of Nader's people said they would vote for Gore if they had
it to do over. It's like losing the World Series to a balk, a passed ball,
and a bad call at home.
I will not address the dubious circumstances surrounding Florida, for it
gives me a rash.
But I digress. I sought to illustrate the absurdity of our election, and
here I am talking politics. Maybe that's the point: politics is about politics.
I don't care how the elephant's outlook will shape the ass's platform; I
want to know that our leaders are motivated by well-defined ideals that come
before their own ego-needs.
My grandpa used to say, "Never trust a man who runs for office." I
am coming to understand the truth of his Budweiser-ism.
I spent the past 2 weeks in D.C., where I saw every national monument except
Bill Clinton's phallus. It was a history lesson that taught me everything
I had missed while memorizing dates in high school.
What touched me most were the principles on which our nation is built. What
a marvel that America's forepersons came together at the same time and space
(can you hear the national anthem in the distance?) These men gave themselves
to standards for which they were willing to die. Their unpopular principles
stemmed from a sense of right and wrong practiced in few courts today. The
ones who survived created democracy to represent every citizen, even the
ones with no front teeth.
I stood inside the Jefferson Memorial and read the quotes chiseled in the
walls. The ideals that drove this men made me feel silly to have days when
all I think about is whether my eyes are really the same size. We hear a
lot about the American Dream, but here was a man who breathed it. I don't
imagined Tom wasted much time watching TV.
Leaving my trance, I noticed overhead a fighter plane that could destroy
a small country if so inclined. We sure have come a long way since the bayonet.
The President would land this afternoon to address the energy crisis that
has proven so gainful to him. I glanced at the gridlock before the Capitol
Building: signals flashing, smog a-spewing, everyone vying for power.
If you listened closely, you could hear the unknown soldiers scratching
at their coffins.
I blame this column on CNN. Before I turned in, they played the President's
energy address, and I still can't fall asleep. Bush recited the words prepared
by his team, stressing the wrong syllables like any bad actor. Between the
lines, he announced that Alaska was screwed.
Then the funny part: they cut to the weather report and the "record-breaking
temperatures across the country." I laughed for lack of options. Had
anyone else noticed?
We elected a man named Bush who won't care for the trees.
Time recently depicted Earth as a fried egg alongside the caption, "Global
Warming: Climbing temperatures, melting glaciers, rising seas all over the
world. We're feeling the heat. Why isn't Washington?"
Answer: It's not good for business.
It's starting to sink in that Bush is President, his father's Mini-Me. Inasmuch
as he reflects the people's priorities, perhaps he is the perfect President.
Yesterday, we got our tax cut; today, we learn that the Exxon Valdez is back
Careful what you vote for, you just might get it.
Have you ever taken a cruise to Alaska? If not, I implore you to go -- before
the tractors arrive. It is an experience that words can't handle. Perhaps
you could take Mr. Bush with you. Drifting through the glaciers while caribou
sip from the springs on either side, even the most powerful man in the world
might realize how small he is.
There. I got it off my chest. I must sleep now. I'm bushed.